That being said her speech has really taken off this last month or two. She is really trying. It's not always clear, she has much work to do with articulation, but she is trying. That's the difference with her now. Everyday she is saying words she didn't say before. My way of thinking is changing now. Instead of having her sign, I ask her to say the word and then if I can't understand it I ask her to sign it. We also have a new speech device that I am using to clarify her wants and needs. Something I do see is more frustration from Maya. Waking up her voice has also woken up her needs and wants, I think. There are emotions flowing and it's still hard for her to decipher them.
When I'm with Maya I focus on her and it's easy to stay in that bubble. I don't compare her, I don't wish for other things. I am focused on keeping her on track. And although I know she is delayed, somehow it doesn't effect me emotionally because it's kind of like looking at numbers and stats. But when I see her with her peers it always hits me right in the gut.
Last weekend we went to a birthday party with kids aging from 3-4. All the kids are talking to each other in full sentences, they are running, jumping and playing pretend. They have awareness of their body, they are focused on all the activities, the food and cake. Maya on the other hand can't quite play with them or keep up. And in one instance when she tried to interact with a little girl, she was shut down. I have seen this with many kids. They don't understand what she wants and because of her lack of speech, most of the time they just stare at her and watch her like she's an alien. I find myself trying to explain to them what she is wanting to do. But most kids at that age just don't care. If you can't keep up with them, you are of no interest to them. This is when my heart breaks. I don't know what Maya is thinking. I don't know if it bothers her as much as it does me. Maybe it rolls right off her little feathers, like water on a duck. Maybe she forgets as soon as she turns the corner. But for me it makes my heart ache. I can't help but feel crushed. Because with all the the strides she makes, it feels like it's just not enough sometimes. I want them to accept her. I want her to have friends. Like the little boys that walk to preschool together every morning, they call to each other and smile and feel happy to see each other. I want that for Maya too.
Like many things with Maya, milestones don't come easily and neither will this. There's only so much I can do, then I have to accept that it is the way it is. I am wishing and hoping that it won't bother her as it does me. That she will be happy with all that she has...and perhaps teach me the same.
Even while I'm sad, I am also happy that she is still making progress. Each party seems to go smoother, each time she seems to participate more and more. At this party, Maya seemed mildly interested in the princess that was painting faces, but when I asked her if she wanted something painted on her face, she said ok. With two children ahead of Maya, she was able to stand and wait without a fuss. She watched and seemed interested the whole time. During her turn she wasn't quite ready for her face to be painted but she was okay with a painted heart on her hand. She seemed happy with it afterwards, showing it to me and swinging it around towards the sky. This is a giant leap for Maya kind.
When Maya was done at the party she let me know. It was right after everyone sang Happy birthday. No surprise there. She usually not into the pizza and cake. That day I decided I wouldn't force the issue. I didn't want to make her sit with the other kids and get agitated with all the noise. She was done. She had an extremely good experience and I wanted to leave it at that.
There was a funny feeling I had as we walked back to the car. It was that time of the day when the sun just starts to set, that's one of my favorite times. I felt content holding Maya's hand, walking away from the party. Feeling her hand in mine, just walking on the sidewalk together, something felt really "normal" about that. I am a mom holding my daughters hand, and she was happy walking with me. This felt just right.